Literary Fiction by People of Color discussion

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book discussions > Discussion: Corregidora

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message 1: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
It's March 1st and our discussion this month is Corregidora by Gayl Jones. Has anyone read the book yet, started reading it or plan to? My copy is still in transit across the state of Georgia and heading to my local branch. Has anyone read other books by this author? We will start the discussion around March 5th or thereabouts with a reading schedule provided just before that date.


message 2: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
No one corrected me. The 1st isn't until tomorrow. Ha!

0h well, Happy Bissextile Day, everyone!


message 3: by Nakia (new)

Nakia I attempted to read this novel in January. I don't think I was in the right space to receive it though, so I stopped midway through. I may have a go at it again later on down the line.


message 4: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Nakia, you certainly aren't the first to say that. Many have tried, few successfully. I think I'll give it a go just to say I did. Reading the book synopsis you would think it's rather accessible but I guess not. From what I understand she's quite a, unique, I guess is the best word to describe her, person. Here's her wiki page. But, for those planning to read the book, skip over the Corregidora entry because it may reveal a little too much.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gayl_...


message 5: by Louise (new)

Louise | 138 comments I read it a few weeks ago. It's raw and gritty, not what I expected and by the end I just wanted to throw the book against a wall, but it was on my ereader so I refrained...

Last I look it was available as an epub for free at the Open Library but the site seems to be down for maintenance right now: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL27413...


message 6: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 220 comments I picked up my copy at the library yesterday, so I'm ready to join in.


message 7: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 16 comments LOL. Sounds like I'm in the minority, but I enjoyed this read.


message 8: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2880 comments Mod
I tried to read this book several years ago and I could not get into it. Not sure if I will attempt again.

I have read The Healing.


message 9: by Louise (new)

Louise | 138 comments Lulu wrote: "LOL. Sounds like I'm in the minority, but I enjoyed this read."

I didn't dislike it and I felt it was engaging enough to keep me interested. It's hard to say that I *enjoyed* it though because it takes us to a dark place. It's a powerful book and one that I would recommend.


message 10: by Lulu (last edited Mar 01, 2016 10:18AM) (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 16 comments Louise wrote: "Lulu wrote: "LOL. Sounds like I'm in the minority, but I enjoyed this read."

I didn't dislike it and I felt it was engaging enough to keep me interested. It's hard to say that I *enjoyed* it thoug..."


Powerful is right! I enjoy books that evoke emotion.


message 11: by George (new)

George | 759 comments got a copy. I expect to start in the next few days.


message 12: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments I got my copy too and am all ready to start!


message 13: by ColumbusReads (last edited Mar 03, 2016 07:27AM) (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Louise wrote: "I read it a few weeks ago. It's raw and gritty, not what I expected and by the end I just wanted to throw the book against a wall, but it was on my ereader so I refrained...

Last I look it was ava..."


Thanks Louise, I think this is the online library system someone suggested months ago and I couldn't recall the name. I'd been searching for it. I joined and now in the queue for a copy of the book!


message 14: by Louise (last edited Mar 03, 2016 08:02AM) (new)

Louise | 138 comments This might help members to find it at a library near you. I asked my library to bring it in on Overdrive and they did!

https://www.overdrive.com/media/48004...


message 15: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn Columbus wrote: "It's March 1st and our discussion this month is Corregidora by Gayl Jones. Has anyone read the book yet, started reading it or plan to? My copy is still in transit acro..."

I tried reading this book a few years back and didn't finish it. I would be willing to try again.


message 16: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Can someone with a copy of the book tell me if the book is divided into sections or parts so I can give the reading schedule. If not, I'll have to go by page numbers but that of course won't work for those reading an ebook electronically. My copy is still apparently in transit.


message 17: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 220 comments Columbus wrote: "Can someone with a copy of the book tell me if the book is divided into sections or parts so I can give the reading schedule. If not, I'll have to go by page numbers but that of course won't work f..."

There are three sections in my book labeled with Roman Numerals. They are not equal in length, but since it's a short book in total anyway, those divisions should work.


message 18: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Karen Michele wrote: "Columbus wrote: "Can someone with a copy of the book tell me if the book is divided into sections or parts so I can give the reading schedule. If not, I'll have to go by page numbers but that of co..."

That works, Karen! Thanks!


message 19: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Discussion begins now!

March 5th - 11th thru section 1
March 12th - 21st thru section 2
March 22nd - Entire book open

Reading the synopsis of this book one would believe it's rather accessible and straight forward. What is it about the book or Gayl Jones writing that many people have difficulty getting through. Some top book critics appear not to have that issue at all. Many just love her writing.


message 20: by Louise (new)

Louise | 138 comments I wish I still had my copy so I could take a look. It's not something I thought about, or noticed, while reading it, and saw no difficulty with the writing. I do think it was written in a gritty style which went hand in hand with the subject.


message 21: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Louise wrote: "I wish I still had my copy so I could take a look. It's not something I thought about, or noticed, while reading it, and saw no difficulty with the writing. I do think it was written in a gritty st..."

Louise, I wonder if it's more the subject matter than the writing itself. But, then others seemed to have the same problem with The Healing and Eva's Man. I got the impression that the writing is rather dense or a style issue. I don't really know never having read her before.


message 22: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2880 comments Mod
Columbus wrote: "Louise wrote: "I wish I still had my copy so I could take a look. It's not something I thought about, or noticed, while reading it, and saw no difficulty with the writing. I do think it was written..."

It was not the subject matter for me. It was more her writing style. It just did not appeal to me and while I finished one of her books - The Healing - it was for a book club discussion, it was more like reading for a school assignment - I needed to it.

I do not expect to like every author's writing style but will try before several of the author's books, especially if the subject matter interests me as Gayle Jones' storylines do.

I certainly appreciate the themes of her books and her speaking to subjects that need to known, discussed and acknowledged.

I certainly would encourage everyone who has not read Gayle Jones, to read Corregidora .

"Every book is not for everyone, but every book is for somebody."


message 23: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 75 comments Just received my copy from Amazon today. Hope to start reading it once I clear a few library books from my shelves.


message 24: by Carina (new)

Carina | 2 comments Hello everyone. I am not a new member per se, but this is the first time I participate rather than just read the discussions. I really enjoy this group and the books picked out and this time I am picking up courage to join in.
I read the first section of Corregidora, taking a few breaks since it's painful some places. I haven't read Gayl Jones' works before and I find it different in style of writing. The theme contributes to the glum setting but I also think it is a bit difficult. It might be because I am not a native English speaker. I also cannot figure out whether Tadpole is really caring or just controlling. He seems to be obsessed with Ursa. What impression do you get?


message 25: by ColumbusReads (last edited Mar 07, 2016 06:27AM) (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Carina wrote: "Hello everyone. I am not a new member per se, but this is the first time I participate rather than just read the discussions. I really enjoy this group and the books picked out and this time I am p..."

Thanks for jumping in , Carina. We enjoy new voices added to our discussion. Anyone have any thoughts on Tadpole in this first part?


message 26: by Louise (new)

Louise | 138 comments Columbus wrote: " Anyone have any thoughts on Tadpole in this first discussion? ..."

I'm going to put my thoughts under a spoiler, since I'm not sure where part I ends in the story.

(view spoiler)


message 27: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments I just started this today - so far it's really appealing to me. On almost every page there's a sentence or two I just have to write down and think about.

p. 4 "The doctors in the hospital said my womb would have to come out." Really? How many white women in 1948 would have gotten hysterectomies in response to miscarriages? I have no idea if this gets explicitly addressed later on.

p. 5 "Do you ever feel as if something was crawling under your skin?" This can mean so much, and I suspect I won't have an opinion until I'm finished, but it could refer to doctors messing around with her insides, or not having control over her internal organs, or having white genes "invading" her, or maybe just the plain old creepiness of being stuck in the hospital.

p. 6 "I couldn't help feeling I was forcing something with Tadpole. What our talk was leading to. Something I needed, but couldn't give back. There'd be plenty I couldn't give back now." Just beautiful!


message 28: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments I love the immediacy, the straightforwardness of her writing style! I just want to race through this, it seems to have the ability to go down way too easy, but I'm forcing myself to slow down and savor all the nuances.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

At first, it wasn't easy for me. Now, I'm becoming more relaxed with Corregidora. Tadpole. I know. He comes in the nick of time for "his" Blues singer. Saves her. Cheers her up. Encourages her. Finds her housing. But! Can we really talk about Tadpole without mentioning Mutt?


message 30: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 220 comments I am enjoying the book so far. So far I like and appreciate Tadpole and how he steps up to care for Ursa, both physically and emotionally. Mutt certainly didn't!

From Alexa:
p. 4 "The doctors in the hospital said my womb would have to come out." Really? How many white women in 1948 would have gotten hysterectomies in response to miscarriages? I have no idea if this gets explicitly addressed later on.

I don't know if this will be addressed later, but the only thing I could find was a "septic miscarriage" where a DNC was not enough to save the mother. It is certainly relevant to one of the themes of the story: "What my mama always told me is Ursa, you got to make generations. Something I've always grown up with." p10


message 31: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Starting today through March 21st reading through Part 2


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

"I didn't let him inside me completely until the night we were married....He had never liked for me to sing that song "Open the Door, Richard" and I.....I felt uncomfortable singing it, or any song that had anything to do with opening up."

That song, "Open the Door, Richard" is on YouTube. I had never heard the song. We, my husband and I, had a laugh over it. The song is sung by The Three Flames.


Virginie (chouettblog) | 83 comments Sorry guys, I am a late starter again. Will try and catch up.


message 34: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Anderson (miss5elements) | 153 comments I'm just getting into Part 2. I find her style a little hard to follow but not at all impossible; and I find myself comparing it to The Book of Night Women.
Her dream sequences and/or her memories always leave me wondering who she's talking to - but I guess that's what dreams do.
The hysterectomy question is looming large. I used to run a support group for women's health and one of the main topics we discussed was the prevalence of hysterectomies for women of color. This was in the 90's. I was really thrown to read about her doctor's casual decision to give her one in 1948. Just how long has this been happening? Since arriving in the US, I guess. Adds to the tragedy.


message 35: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Entire book open for discussion. No spoilers!


message 36: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Anderson (miss5elements) | 153 comments I hope I didn't "suck all the air out of the room" with my last post.


message 37: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Tiffany, it's been 2 weeks of silence in this room since your last posting. See what you did?! Haha, I hadn't even realized that. Too funny!


message 38: by George (new)

George | 759 comments not to worry, no need to internalize it. looks like folks just ran out of things to say.


message 39: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Anderson (miss5elements) | 153 comments Lolol, I'm just saying...

Thanks, George, I'm not. I just returned my copy to the library & had some more questions which I thought I posted, but I guess it didn't make it.

Wondered why Gayl made the male characters so similar. After thinking about it, many of the female characters are similar too.


message 40: by George (new)

George | 759 comments Well, it hasn't really been my favorite book to date, although it's not without interest.


message 41: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 220 comments No worries-- I zipped through the rest of
The book and really didn't have anything new to say. I liked it and I'm glad I read it, but I agree that it wasn't my best read among those I've read with the group.


message 42: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments I've been behind in reading this, which is why I haven't been posting - but I'm finding it glorious! I would never have expected myself to be so enthralled with her stream of consciousness style of writing but it really speaks to me. There is so much pain here and she shows us everybody's pain so clearly - including the men's. I thought it interesting that so many of her internal conversations were with Mutt - almost as if she sees Mutt as her alter ego.


message 43: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments Oh, that's where she was going with this! I just finished it - put me in the camp with those who loved it. Such a frank discussion of sexuality and tortured relationships and the burdens of the past!


message 44: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments A question I'm having a delightful time contemplating - did Ursa, in her own personal heart of hearts, truly want to be a mother?


message 45: by ColumbusReads (new)

ColumbusReads (coltrane01) | 3772 comments Mod
Thanks to everyone who participated in the discussion. The thread will remain open to further discuss the book/author if you so desire. Thanks again!


message 46: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Anderson (miss5elements) | 153 comments Alexa wrote: "Oh, that's where she was going with this! I just finished it - put me in the camp with those who loved it. Such a frank discussion of sexuality and tortured relationships and the burdens of the past!"

You're right about the frank discussion about sexuality, tortured relationships, & past burdens, Alexa. And your question if she truly wanted to be a mother is such a good one! I didn't love the book, but it is a necessary piece of literature.

You certainly couldn't blame her if she didn't because of the horrific ordeals her mother and grandmothers went through. I was left feeling hopeless about her future once she got back together with Mutt. It seemed like her world was locked in a very small space.

I compare it to The Street by Ann Petry. (I compare a lot of books to it - truly one of the best reads from this group). A young woman in a hopeless situation & I felt like throwing the book at a wall when I was done. While I didn't have such a gut reaction to Corregidora's ending, it was pretty hopeless.

Maybe I need to create a possible new ending for Ursa as that's how I was able to continue on after The Street.


message 47: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments I take a more positive view of it. She spent twenty years missing Mutt, talking to him in her mind about everything, as well as, of course, blaming him. I think she's old enough at this point to know her own mind. At this point she can of course only hope that Mutt is also older and wiser - but I hold out hope of redemption - also they're going into things at this point aware of their equality of power, both to hurt and to love.


message 48: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Anderson (miss5elements) | 153 comments I commend you on your positive take on it, Alexa.
Mutt just behaved too badly for me. Maybe I'm too cynical, but I don't believe he changed that much.
He stalked her, withheld love & sex from her, raped her, and finally threw her down some stairs causing her to prematurely lose the baby and her uterus. He had no idea she'd end up losing her womb, but he helped make her vulnerable to getting a hysterectomy.
I don't think that type of psychology gets healed over time without intervention. Ursa seemed to be headed towards more of the same with him.


message 49: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments Wait, no rape! She was very clear that if she said no he never forced her. Stalking? Well, sort of. Do you mean before the fall or after? Can you stalk someone while you're theoretically happily married? Afterwards could be described as his genuine desire to make sure she was alright, because didn't he disappear as soon as he saw her sing once? And she herself was convinced that the fall was a complete accident on his part - he was stupid for being drunk and struggling with her at the top of a staircase, but she never believed he threw her down.

He was jealous and stupid and controlling and definitely withheld love and sex - but she was willing to hope he had outgrown those flaws after 22 years, and I'm willing to be hopeful with her. That whole final scene I thought was their mutual recognition that she now has the upper hand.


message 50: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 53 comments In a sense this whole tale is simply a rather twisted love story. We see the event that ends the relationship and then we watch Ursa attempt to recover and to deal with her past, yet throughout in her mind she keeps trying to talk things out with Mutt. I thought it was odd how Cat kept trying to get her to talk to Mutt, but I suspect she knew Ursa's mind better than Ursa did.


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